In July 2012, more than 60% of the contiguous United States is experiencing drought conditions. That’s nearly double the area from January, as this animation from NOAA shows.
This NOAA animation – using images from the U.S. Drought Monitor – shows monthly composites of D1 to D4 categories of drought in the contiguous U.S. over the time frame January 2012 to July 2012. D1 (lightest color) is the least intense. D4 (darkest color) is the most intense.
By the way, the image at the top of this post is from Jolynn Keutzer Bales, who posted it on EarthSky’s Facebook page. She gave us a first-hand view of the effects of this 2012 drought when she wrote:
We lost our little oak tree in this summer’s drought. Indiana (and much of the midwest) is suffering through not only drought conditions, but record breaking heat spells as well.
We in Texas also know how tough it is to watch your trees die, since we lost a hefty percentage of our trees in last summer’s drought. In December 2011, the Texas Forest Service was saying the death toll of trees in Texas might be as high as 10%. Where I live, in Austin, there are dead trees everywhere already, but this summer, mercifully, we’ve had more rain than last year at this time.
Bottom line: Animation from NOAA showing the spread of drought in the U.S., from state to state, from January to early July 2012.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.